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Pujols powers Cards to snap Blue Jays seven-game winning streak

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Simply put, it wasn’t on the Cards for the Blue Jays on this night.

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The evening belonged to the visiting St. Louis Cardinals and Albert Pujols when everything that could go right did, which isn’t to say the Red Birds didn’t deserve a 6-1 win, because they did.

Simply put, they were the better team and the Jays deserved their fate.

The Cardinals got to Jays starter Kevin Gausman, who couldn’t get out of the fifth inning, giving up five runs on eight hits.

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Toronto was outplayed, outplayed and outplayed as its seven-game winning streak came to an abrupt end.

The game-clinching hit came off the bat of the 42-year-old Pujols, who became the oldest player to go deep at the Rogers Center with a three-yard run in the fifth inning.

The Jays never led and at no point did they feel like they were in control.

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St. Louis could have put together a more complete inning by loading the bases with none out in the eighth, but no runs would score to give the Jays any hope.

Any hope quickly evaporated.

Starter from St. Louis Adam Wainwright was great in keeping the Jays balanced.

The righty went seven strong innings, striking out eight, giving up five hits and giving up one run without a walk.

As the baseball saying goes, good pitching often defeats a good offense.

Gausman didn’t have his best stuff and was replaced by Trevor Richards with runners on base and two outs in the fifth inning.

Pujols stepped up to send a rocket into the Westjet Flight Deck to give the Cards a 6-1 lead.

The Jays had won nine of 10 entering the night, the lone loss at home against KC as Gausman started in the Royals’ 3-1 win.

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SHOPPING PLACES

As next Tuesday’s 6 p.m. trade deadline approaches, Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins admits any potential deal will come with a hefty price tag.

At least for now, it’s a given, but there’s still time until the deadline expires when the cost of doing business could be more reasonable.

“Right now, to be able to move quickly, you probably pay a premium,” said Atkins, who held court with the media before Wednesday’s miniseries finale against the Cards.

Whether it’s ing a starter, providing a bullpen with multiple arms, or exploring every option to bring in a left-handed bat to complement a righty-heavy team, the to-do list seems clear.

“I feel we are in a good position,” he ed.

Atkins likes the team’s depth, but at the same time, any movement and the Jays are expected to be active will change the makeup of the team, which seems pretty logical and obvious.

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There’s been a lot of talk about ing a reliever with a bullpen, but “if we can more swing and miss, that would be a positive,” Atkins ed.

The GM confirmed that LHP Yusei Kikuchi will start Thursday’s series opener against the Detroit Tigers, who will be in town for four games.

The Jays will go after the Tigers series with stops in Tampa, Minneapolis and Baltimore.

Monday is off when Atkins and his staff can potentially do most of the heavy lifting before the deadline if a deal or two or maybe even three makes sense.

From the sounds of it, it could go down to the last hour on Tuesday.

There is speculation that Kikuchi’s return may pave the way for the hard-thrower to fire out of the bullpen.

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The usual suspects, whether it’s Luis Castillo, Frankie Montas and Noah Syndergaard, are often touted as potential starter targets.

Bullpen arms like David Robertson, Michael Fulmer, and David Bednar, to name a few, were up for grabs.

The Yankees are said to be looking to acquire Castillo and Montas.

New York’s grip on the top of the AL East isn’t as strong as it once was, but the Bronx Bombers will be hard to replace.

HISTORY OF THE CHASE

Pujols was once again cheered by the Rogers Center crowd as the future Hall of Famer came to the plate for his first at-bat.

The crowd rose as one to cheer Pujols, who returned to first base for the second night in a row.

Gausman recognized the moment and began to walk behind the mound, knowing there would be another cheer for Pujols.

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The roar grew louder as Pujols stepped out of the box and removed his batting helmet as a sign of appreciation.

He stroked the single.

For Pujols, it was his 2,110th hit as a member of the Cardinals, tying him for fourth on the club’s career list with Rogers Hornsby.

Hornsby collected his 2,110 hits in 1,580 games with the Cardinals.

Pujols appeared in his 1,762nd game for St. Louis Wednesday, which happened to be his last game in Toronto, as he calls it, of his postseason career.

In his second at-bat Wednesday, Pujols hit the ball down the first base line for a stand-up double.

The hit moved Pujols into sole possession of fourth place on the Cards’ career list.

Teoscar Hernandez threw him out at the plate.

His appearance on Tuesday marked his 3,027th career hit as Pujols passed Stan Musial and Eddie Murray for sole possession of sixth place in MLB career games played.

fzicarelli@postmedia.com

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